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Silicon Saxony!

Silicon Saxony!
by Daniel Nenni on 07-13-2015 at 8:00 am

The “Saxony” reference comes from the Holy Roman era which is now the tenth largest of Germany’s sixteen states and is divided into ten districts. The “Silicon” comes from the microchip makers in the Dresden area which is district #2. The largest of said chip makers is now GlobalFoundries so in the same vein that California has Silicon Valley, which is where I’m from, Germany has Silicon Saxony, which is where I am today.

The first major semiconductor chip manufacturing started here when AMD arrived in the 1990s. Over a 10 year period AMD invested more than $6B in the “AMD Saxony” location here in Dresden. Production began using 200mm wafers at 180nm and 130nm bulk CMOS. The AMD SOI revolution started at 90nm extending down to 32nm using 300mm wafers. GlobalFoundries is now continuing that tradition with 22nm FD-SOI which you have probably already read about on SemiWiki.

Rumors of 22nm FD-SOI had been circulating Silicon Valley for months. The first official leak sprung at the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference last May which resulted in this blog:

ASMC 2015: GlobalFoundries 22nm SOI plans and more!

“During the question and answer session I asked Dr. Caulfield about GlobalFoundries SOI plans. He replied that they are developing a 22nm process in Malta for manufacturing in Dresden. The goal is 14nm FinFET performance at 28nm costs.”

There is also quite a spirited discussion in the comments section that should be well worth your time. The second leak came from an FD-SOI workshop:

GlobalFoundries Endorse ST/LETI FD-SOI 22nm!

This is why SemiWiki Bloggers attend live events whenever possible because you can’t always believe everything you read, even sometimes by the vendors themselves! :rolleyes:

Paul wrote about the formal announcement HEREand you can see the announcement slide deck HERE. Paul will do live briefings during SEMICON in San Francisco while I get briefed here in Dresden. It will certainly be an interesting week. Paul and I will compare notes when I return and synthesize what we feel the real significance is. Your comments help so please chime in whenever possible, semiconductor crowdsourcing at its finest, absolutely.

And for your entertainment here are quotes from the official press release:

“The 22FDX platform enables our customers to deliver differentiated products with the best balance of power, performance, and cost,” saidSanjay Jha, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “In an industry first, 22FDX provides real-time system software control of transistor characteristics: the system designer can dynamically balance power, performance, and leakage. Additionally, for RF and analog integration in connectivity applications, the platform delivers the highest frequency, lowest variability, and best energy efficiency.”

​“GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ FD-SOI offering, using an advanced FD-SOI transistor architecture developed through our long-standing research partnership, confirms and strengthens the momentum on this technology by expanding the ecosystem and assuring another source of high-volume supply,” Jean-Marc Chery, chief operating officer of STMicroelectronics. “FD-SOI is an ideal process technology to meet the unique always-on, low-power requirements of IoT and other power-sensitive devices worldwide.”

“Freescale’s® next-generation i.MX series of applications processors is leveraging the benefits of FD-SOI to achieve industry leading ultra-low power performance-on-demand solutions for automotive, industrial and consumer applications,” said Ron Martino vice president of applications processors and advanced technology adoption for Freescale’s MCU group. “GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 22FDX platform is a great addition to the industry which provides a high volume manufacturing extension of FD-SOI beyond 28nm by continuing to scale down for cost and extend capability for power-performance optimization.”

“The connected world of mobile and IoT devices depend on SoCs that are optimized for performance, power and cost,” said Will Abbey, general manager, physical design group, ARM. “We are collaborating closely with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to deliver the physical IP needed for customers to benefit from the unique value of 22FDX technology.”

“FD-SOI can deliver significant improvements in performance and power savings, while minimizing adjustments to existing design-and-manufacturing methodologies,” said CEA-Leti CEO Marie Noëlle Semeria. “Together, we can collectively deliver proven, well-understood design-and-manufacturing techniques for the successful production of GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22FD-SOI for connected technologies.”

“GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ announcement is a key milestone for enabling the next generation of low-power electronics,” said Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec. “We are pleased to be GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ strategic partner. Our ultra-thin SOI substrate is ready for high-volume manufacturing of 22FD-SOI technology.”


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